LONDON, ONT. -- The London Lightning will not hit the court this season after the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) announced Friday it's cancelling the entire 2020-2021 season because of the pandemic.

"We're extremely disappointed at not being able to get back on the court and play our tenth season as planned however the safety of our fans, players and everyone associated with our game is paramount", says league deputy commissioner Audley Stephenson in a news release.

The league had a target date of March 12 to return but COVID-19 concerns made having fans in attendance impossible.

"We'll continue to use the time away to prepare for our milestone season when we return to play and strengthen our business processes," Stephenson added.

The NBLC will make an announcement regarding the future of the 2021-2022 season at a later date.

The London Lightning are four-time NBLC champions.